Monday, 23 February 2009

Art Deco in bulk!

The last post seems to have been published satisfactorily so here is another about Napier and its Art deco weekend. Three cruise liners called on successive days disgorging passengers for a brief shopping expedition. The Weekend is though and occasioin for the locals to enjoy themselves and is not really a tourist thing at all.

It all starts because Napier claims to be the Art Deco capital of the world. Following a destructive earthquake and fire in 1931 the town was handsomely rebuilt in 1932 in the contemporary style, loosely termed Art Deco a term used to described constructions from the sinuous decoration of the 1900’s Paris Metro to the 1930’s rectangular chrome and concrete styles. This one of the most celebrated Napier buildings:

Other less pretentious commercial buildings followed the style:

Last weekend was the annual Art Deco weekend with hundreds parading in a wide variety of costumes, plays, receptions, and a parade of at least 200 vintage cars. This 1920 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce is straight out of the pages of Dornford Yates ‘Berry and Co.’.

I went to quite a few public events wearing my striped blazer and a borrowed straw boater with a borrowed stick and found that I fitted in well though I do not go back quite that far. As for example:

They were complete strangers. I hasten to add that the picture was taken by the husband of one of the ladies.

A feature on Sunday was the `Gatsby’ picnic. This was held in the Marine Gardens where several dozen gazebos (a term little used in England since the 18th C – or am I behind the times with a revival?) but a handy word in NZ to describe a temporary shelter or tent as well as a summer-house housed period picnics such as :

Warm evenings meant that good-nature crowds continued to circulate. Here is the illuminated fountain.

So now the weekend is over and it has all been put away until next year after a few days when lots of people, many of them older, were able to enjoy a genuine carnival of dressing up and good natured amusement.

My descriptive powers are exhausted.

1 comment:

  1. You are very tastefully turned out alongside those splendid slappers,albeit we may have to take with a pinch of salt your 'story' of strangers and husband taking the photo. The art deco event reminded me of another of my New Zealand reminiscensces of the 1980s; at that time most of the cars on the road were of 1905s/60s vintage and the provincial streets reminded me very much of an average UK town in the 1930s/40s. Things have clearly moved on since then.